Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays! Regardless of what you celebrate, you can agree that there are several gifts the Blues needed to receive this holiday season. Here’s a quick look at what I hope they found wrapped up under their collective trees.
Good Health (or Bubble Wrap)
Injuries have been the biggest issue for the Blues this season. That’s usually the case with most NHL teams, but the Blues are one of the leaders in terms of games missed due to injury. As of December 21st, the Blues had 147 man-games lost (third-most in the NHL) due to their various ailments.
That allegedly translates to over six points lost in the standings.
Get healthy, Blues. And wrap up the rest of the roster in more protective padding.
A Third Line
This may be a bit cruel, but the Blues hopefully found a consistent third line under the tree. Injuries played a role here too, but the players who have shown up on the third line so far this season haven’t made much of an impression.
Every NHL team is looking for balance. The Blues are in the same boat, but have dealt with a third line that’s so far removed from the talent on the top two lines that it sticks out as a glaring weakness.
A Strong Power Play
Remember when the Blues would ferociously attack on the power play? I don’t either. It’s been a long time since the Blues were a consistent threat on the power play. The team is currently converting at a 16.4 percent clip, ranking 24th in the NHL. You can’t expect to lead a division with a power play that bad.
Hopefully Santa delivered some new strategies and urgency on the power play.
Better First Periods
The opening 20 minutes in a game are the worst for the Blues in terms of total offense. Here’s how many goals they’ve scored, broken down by period:
First period: 26
Second period: 36
Third period: 46
It’s nice to see the offense click late in games, but it’d be encouraging to see things get rolling a bit earlier. Their 26 goals ranks 26th in the NHL. Thankfully, the defense has only allowed 21 goals, so though this might be a bit greedy to want that differential to grow further, the Blues would greatly benefit from quicker starts.
What do you hope the Blues found under their trees?